09 March 2018 – Secretary of Trade and Industry Ramon M. Lopez, joined his other ASEAN counterparts in a Ministerial Panel during the ASEAN-EU Business Summit held last 02 March at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Secretary Lopez was joined by the Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita and Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak, while the panel was moderated by Mr. Ryan Huang of Singapore Press Holdings.
“ASEAN is the fastest growing region in the world and individually each ASEAN Member State has been exceeding expectations,” Secretary Lopez said during his opening statement.
He admitted though that non-tariff barriers (NTBs) continue to be one of the greatest challenges that need to be addressed in order to achieve economic integration in ASEAN. The absence of a single market due to NTBs prevents the realization of a vibrant intra-ASEAN trade.
Secretary Lopez also provided updates on the Philippine economy, particularly on the latest tax reform package. “The Philippines is expected to grow over 7% for the next four years as the country continues to build its production capacity to address trade imbalances,” he added.
The ASEAN-EU Business Summit was held at the sidelines of the 24th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat (AEMR), 16th AEM-European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner Consultations, and the 4th Intersessional Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial Meeting, which Singapore chaired last 01-03 March.